Monster Bobby is a Brighton/London scenester, guitarist with The Cassettes, and often credited as being the svengali behind polka-dotted girl group The Pipettes. It’s hard to see quite what his purpose was in consigning this set of random wafflings to record.
This a motley assortment of thoughts and snippets sounding more like sketches than fully fleshed-out songs. Many tracks are less than a minute long (indeed the openinger Fresh Start is only 34 seconds), and those that break the 2 minute barrier are nearly always padded out with random background noise/bird song/electronic bleeps. While listening to Gaps I was reminded of the kind of bonus or extra discs that are often packaged together with a ‘real’ album, which helpfully illustrate the rudimentary beginnings and demo versions of an artist’s songs. Unfortunately, in this case, this is the supposedly finished version.
The best that this album has to offer is The Closest Experience to that of Being With You is the Experience of Taking Drugs (a title which in itself is as long and interesting as some of the other tracks!). This sounds heartfelt and is lyrically quite touching (“Despite a smile that I had never smiled before / It was nothing to the joy that we felt rolling on the floor”). It also has a decent, and sustainable, tune to accompany it. Something sadly lacking in nearly every other track.
Much of what follows gives the impression of having been written as a sort of extended love-letter to the same person. In particular The Postcard (noteable for a cringeworthy rhyming of “Helsinki” with “stinky”) and 3 Days, 14 Hours – both of which cover similar themes of missing a loved one whilst away (possibly on tour). Unfortunately the latter is another song so short (1 min 8 secs) that the listener doesn’t get the time to engage with the subject or tune or care much about them. I Live for Your Fleeting Touch is another romance-heavy track and is one of the more successful efforts. “I live for those fleeting touches / When we’re passing a spliff and your fingers touch mine” is a lovely lyric, but again frustration ensues for the listener when this isn’t fleshed out into a full song with more than just one or two ideas.
Last Stop, All Change is something of a nadir. A whinge about noisy train passengers, it manages to be both incredibly hackneyed (do we really need to hear someone else moaning about people talking on mobiles and listening to their music too loudly? Surely this has been done to death by “why oh why” journalists and stand-up comedians for the last 20 years?), bossy (“You can make a call but please make it a quick one”) and downright misanthropic (“I don’t want to hear your screaming fucking children”). All this delivered in an out-of-tune wobbly vocal. Another particularly unsuccessful track is Let’s Check Into Hospital Together, Monster Bobby’s attempt at a comedy song which fails to amuse.
Overall then, an extended exercise in pointlessness. This is not an album created by someone bursting to share his thoughts and music with the world. Desperate to get his unique voice heard, it’s more like someone struggling to fill up space (hence Gaps, perhaps?) on a blank CD with any old rubbish from his notebook jottings.